Singing has always been part of her daily life she is often told her musical exploits were exhibited even before she started talking.
When growing up she never thought that her childhood hobby will one day turn into her dream job, she imagined herself as an air hostess and at a later stage in life aspired to be a lawyer.
Carmen’s musical journey starts at her hometown in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. It is in this city that she started off as a session musician and later joined a jazz outfit that consisted of jazz musician Hudson Simbarashe and Afro Jazz musician Edith WeUtonga.
Carmen chats to us about her inspiration and blossoming musical career. She also lets us in on what she up to during this lockdown period. Allow her to usher you into her world…
We are excited to have a chat with you. Tell us more, who is Carmen?
Carmen is a singer/song writer and music teacher based in Mauritius. She has one album to her name released in December 2017 titled “I call to you” and is currently working on her second album titled “Listen”. Carmen was born and bred in Bulawayo Zimbabwe.
Take us through your journey. How was it like growing up in Bulawayo?
Growing up in Bulawayo was awesome , I started singing at home and church , I come from a family of singers. In my teen years I worked as a session backing vocalist at House of Rising Sound studios run by the late Joe Pupa Maseko.
I later joined a jazz band called 5fold just after high school and it comprised of Hudson Simbarashe, Edith WeUtonga , Mbaki and Kevin, this was just an awesome experience. In 2006 I enrolled at Midlands State University and completed my studies in 2010.
My time at university allowed me to grow immensely as a lead vocalist, we formed the band African Destiny famous for the song Nzira yangu , we toured Sweden after winning Music crossroads competitions. I moved to Harare and I worked with a number of renowned musicians.
Take us back in time, how did your love for music start?
Well , I am told I started to sing before talking and this would especially happen whenever I was higher than ground so I sang a lot when I was on a sofa or on the table. All the way from school going up I have been mostly known for singing.
What are some of the challenges you have faced so far?
The main challenge is penetrating through the music industry, getting yourself out there and known or rather the music known , however one has to push and stay focused.
Over the years you have worked with a number of icons in the Zimbabwean music industry. How has it shaped and developed your craft?
Maybe to answer by sharing what I have learnt which is precision, knowing your art form and what it is that makes you. Working hard and practice.
The musicians I have worked with invest so much in practice. I have learnt and seen from then character traits that work and that don’t work. One most important thing is staying humble no matter how famous or good one maybe , humbleness is key. I guess these are some of the things that have shaped and developed my craft.
In January you released a video for Ng’zwile featuring Umkhathi and Iyasa what inspired the song and the collaboration?
This song was inspired by my time at St James Mission , we used to do a lot of drama and singing and the memories of some of the stuff we would come up with inspired the song.
The collaboration well I knew I had to do it back home in Bulawayo and who better to do it with they were just the best choice.
Who do you look up to for your inspiration?
I am inspired by God I believe, also inspired by situations in my life and around me. I however enjoy listening to other musicians as well.
Did you ever think you would be a musician when you were young, if not what did you want to become?
I never thought being a musician was possible, like it could be a career so I wanted to be an air hostesses and at some point considered being a lawyer.
If you were to host a dinner party where you have to invite 5 Bulawayo personalities; who would you call?
1. Cont Mhlanga,
3. Nkululeko Dube
4. Patience Phiri
What has been your major career highlight?
Oohh I have a couple but I guess I would go with the launch of my debut album in 2017.
Any upcoming projects?
My second album will be out this year.
Your top 5 Zimbabwean songs on your playlist currently?
1.Njema -Winky D
2.Nhema -Willis Wataffi
4.Abalalanga- Vusa Mkhaya
Any kind words to people who aspire to be like you?
Invest in hard work, be a life long learner , believe in yourself, know your craft and profession in an out.
Finish this statement for us. “In the next 5 years Carmen will be…”
In the next 5 years Carmen will be touring and I would like to be working with persons with disabilities through music using it as a tool for learning and giving them a voice through music.
With the world on lockdown how is Carmen spending her day?
I am learning how to play the clarinet, working on my dissertation and singing away and most importantly staying safe.
Life is the ultimate gift!!! Hopefully we will talk to you soon on bigger and better projects Carmen thank you for chatting with us.
WATCH Ngixolele : https://youtu.be/7XsPOf5gNZs